Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pinyon Well, Joshua Tree National Park

My wife and I took our granddaughter and the chihuahua out for a hike in JTNP about a week ago. The hike is relatively short (a little under 2 miles round trip). However, temps were in the mid-90's, so I was being really careful... carrying lots of water, snacks, hats, sunscreen, etc. There is no cell service in the Park, so you need to be super careful, especially when traveling with a toddler. This is a great hike for a number of reasons. For one, it's remote, so few if any tourists know about it and you will probably have the area to yourself. You take Geology Tour Road to get to the trailhead, and 4WD is recommended. For a great overview of the Pinyon Well area, check out this blog:  http://cali49.com/jtnp/2014/2/18/pinyon-well
My granddaughter started out strong...
But she soon ran out of gas!! The chihuahua picked up a cactus thorn in her foot not once, not twice, but three times! Wish I would have managed to get a photo of my wife trying to pull out thorns without being bitten! It's quite a challenge.
One of the first interesting finds on the hike was this skull of a bighorn sheep. I didn't see any sign of the rest of the carcass. In researching the area, I learned that there is water available further up the canyon and bighorn sheep are common in this area. I also learned that sheep carcasses are occasionally found, which means there are likely mountain lions in the area. I took this shot of the skull, then put it back the way I found it for the next hikers to enjoy.
Photo credit:  http://cali49.com/jtnp/2014/2/18/pinyon-well
The next interesting find is (I think) the actual Pinyon Well location. It's just a big hole in the ground that's been fenced off by the park service).
Photo credit:  http://cali49.com/jtnp/2014/2/18/pinyon-well
Here's a close-up looking down into the well. I nearly missed it, but just above the well, as if guarding the entrance or warning off potential visitors of grave danger, was another bighorn sheep skull! That's two on one hike!!
This got my imagination going (as in the Indiana Jones movie). If I lifted up the skull, would poison darts or something even worse happen??! I picked up the skull to inspect it and fortunately survived the experience!
An old metal water trough. I wonder what it was used for?
Multiple cement water tanks in this area, along with what look like stone foundations of what once was likely mining cabins. The water tanks were probably used for mining operations. At one time, this must have been a thriving area!
Back where we started, as the sun sets and a nice view of Malapai Hill in the distance. There's a lot more to see up this canyon. It's definitely on my list of hikes to do... next time going deeper into the canyon.
Shot earlier in the day... that's Geology Tour Road, AKA, our road back home!
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!

40 comments:

  1. Two skulls on one hike? There must be a hidden meaning!

    Arizona Sky

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  2. Wow, the big horn sheep skull is cool. I love the view with the trees. What a great hike and photos. Have a happy weekend!

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  3. How breathtakingly beautiful.

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  4. What a fascinating place!! I do love your captures for the day and wish I could visit there myself, but you shots are the next best thing!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  5. fun

    Wow...it's already been 2 years since I did my own hiking around the mines
    http://rmacwheeler.blogspot.com/2013/06/sunday-safari-old-tin-mine-road.html

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  6. Incredible narration. Great images. I'm thinking a gold panning sluice but then again, it'd not be a complete sluice. LOL

    The legenday lost dutchman's gold mine.

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  7. An amazing hike which raises more questions than it answered. Are mountain lions a danger to people? Fascinating landscape and history.

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  8. You are gutsy! Lucky for us to see your pics

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  9. The horns on the sheep looks very mysterious! And the skywatch photos are just so colorful! I am always fascinated with desert pictures and you just do a great great job in it :D

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  10. An interesting outing. I'd be afraid to come across mountain lions just as I'd be afraid to come across bob cats here and bears out in the woods. I do love your photos and that 2nd to last shot is my favourite. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  11. What a wonderful hike....I enjoyed it very much! And love the beautiful photos!

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  12. cool stuff. I'm sure there are snakes too. love image 9

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  13. I enjoyed your post. The skulls were a great find as were the remains of what was once a thriving area. The west is dotted with ghost towns some of which have almost totally disappeared.

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  14. This is a wonderful hike with lot of discovery on the way.

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  15. Cool and interesting post. I'd be afraid of the snakes if there was any there. Love that ninth shot!

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  16. You are very brave and well prepared for the tour with your granddaughter following you. I enjoyed following you on this adventurous hike. Are there snakes around the area? Indiana Jones was also on my mind, but I am safe in front of the computer. Love the desert view of the place.

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  17. quite an adventure !!! - fantastic shots :-)

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  18. Wow great tour. I like a hike like this one and with the photo opportunities you find.

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  19. For an exciting ride for all of you.
    Not good for the dog to get the cactus needles in the foot....

    Happy weekend.

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  20. Wow, that is a great hike. Does it rise up or relatively level?

    Worth a Thousand Words

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  21. The second to last shot is my favorite. So breathtaking with the Joshua tree.

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  22. Your grand daughter and your little dog did well to hike in such heat ~ yet what an adventure on this short hike ~ Plus beautiful photography!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  23. I love your pictures and the story :-)) happy weekend!

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  24. hi! Your granddaughter is very cute. the malapai Hill's photo is very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. You were very brave to hike in this heat ! The park is very beautiful and so interesting things to see !

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  26. Such fascinating and beautiful scenery! The shots with your granddaughter are so sweet - the little one trying hard and getting tired - and rescued...

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  27. Greetings from Dubai!! WOW!! Just love your header and what an awesome outing!! Will be back soon..have a great weekend.

    Shantana

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  28. A fascinated walk!
    Greeting from Hamburg, Marie

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  29. This area is just so completely different than where I live. How cool to find the sheep skulls. I love to imagine what it would have been like "back then".

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  30. I can't help but think what a great gift you and your wife are giving your granddaughter by introducing her to nature at such a tender age. Marvelous photos! What an incredible place and yes I can emphasize with your chihuahua. This city girl once wore flip-flops when touring a cactus garden somewhere out your way. Let's just say it was a learning experience :)

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  31. 'Thats a good' article, i usually amazed with' this thing, i asked myself about this opinion, I wish You'll a better articles that can make another people impressive..don't make the article feel rigit and isn't interesting and poor, i like to read this' article and i think this is "good".thank you' m'y brother.

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  32. Amazing pictures and landscape.. I felt I am in a movie set

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  33. that hike seemed to be quite challenging. With toddler dog and the heat. But soo worth it. Thanks for sharing :)

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  34. what a lovely hike, photos and text. great way to entertain children in my opinion. piggyback photo is so cute.

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  35. what a lovely hike, photos and text. great way to entertain children in my opinion. piggyback photo is so cute.

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  36. Gostei de visitar o seu blog.
    Um abraço.
    http://andarilharar.blogspot.pt/

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  37. Really amazing sights from the desert. Especially the sunset ones. If you like you can join us and link in, on the latest edition of Through My Lens.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  38. RRally catches the spirit of the Park and the desert!! Back when our grandkids were the age of yours and we were yours) I would have been comfortable taking them on that hike, but the chihuahua would scare me!

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